05 June 2008

Supplier lines

Andy of Khayamanzi is building up a list of approved suppliers on his blog. You only warrant a mention if you meet his gold standard and, by his own admission, he has raised the bar very high. I think this is an excellent idea and the more bloggers report good or bad experiences - and please specify names rather than fannying around with asterisks and 'you know, the company that has its base at so and so') the better armed we’ll all be as consumers. Of course, the advantage of a blog is that others can comment in agreement or otherwise or tell similar or dissimilar stories, thus building up a more rounded picture. It also helps service providers and retailers keep on their toes and they can also respond directly or indirectly – look here and here for Andy’s recent interaction with Rose Narrowboats, now duly vetted and added to the list. I think you could probably put your shirt on any company making the grade with our Andy, so I guess he’s the closest thing we’ve got to a canal-oriented ‘Which?’.

I’m more of a ‘Huh’ person myself. That’s not because I don’t have standards, it’s just that I have very low expectations. You’re far less likely to be disappointed that way. I am also a typical Brit in that I don’t like conflict and would prefer just to walk away and whinge about it to anyone who’ll listen, rather than take someone’s poor service to task. Pathetic, isn’t it? (That’s partly why I picked up on the Tesco pet insurance story – the couple have actually got up off their bums and done something about the perceived injustice, rather than just griping into their tea).

Just this week I had my expectations exceeded. I rang Lee Sanitation looking for a new base assembly for our rather flash flusher. The lady I spoke to helped me identify precisely the right part number as there was initial confusion as to whether it was a rear entry or plug and play loo (well, not those words precisely but something similar and these seemed like more fun). She told me that it was not a stock part so she’d have to email the States to see if and when they could get hold of it – she promised me a call back the following day as soon as she’d had word back. Well, first off, I didn’t imagine America would respond so promptly. Secondly, I always doubt those people who say we’ll get right back to you. But lo and behold, there was a message on my phone the very next day, verifying the availability and price of said part. One phone call and credit card transaction later, and it was game over – flash flusher innards sorted. This was all done with quiet efficiency and a pleasant manner by the LeeSan lady, who had delivered exactly what she had said she would. It wasn’t ‘let’s-put-the-flags-out’ amazing but it was enough for me. I didn’t have to chase, I wasn’t inconvenienced, I wasn’t made to wait. I don’t ask much but I’m very pleased when I get it. Well done, you bog gods*

*This post will self-destruct if my part doesn’t arrive in good time. A girl can only cross her legs for so long, you know.

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